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Illegal trawler caught with 25 tonnes of fish.

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Illegal trawler caught with 25 tonnes of fish

Authorities have apprehended the largest vessel caught illegally inside Australian waters this year, carrying a staggering 25 tonnes of fish on board.

The 40-metre trawler, which is flagged to Indonesia but based out of Bangkok, was apprehended near Evans Shoal, north of Darwin yesterday.

Australian Fisheries Minister Senator Ian Macdonald said crew of the HMAS Geraldton made the arrest after the vessel was detected inside the Australian Fishing Zone.

All 22 crew-members are Thai nationals.

"This is the largest vessel that has been apprehended so far this year in Australian waters," Senator Macdonald said.

"It really is a credit to Australian authorities to have made such a significant arrest just eight nm inside the Australian Fishing Zone."

Navy officers discovered a haul of about 25 tonnes of fin fish.

"This is a major arrest, and sends a message across the globe that Australia is tough on fish poachers," Senator Macdonald said.

"This is the first boat we have apprehended this year that has not been based in Indonesia.

"My message to foreign fishermen is simple - stay out of Australian waters if you want to keep your vessel and your livelihood.

"The presence of a foreign commercial trawler of this size in our waters highlights the importance of protecting Australia's well-managed fisheries resources from exploitation by illegal foreign fishing vessels."

The boat is being escorted to Darwin where officers from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority will make further investigations.

The crew are expected to face charges under Australia's Fisheries Management Act.

There have been 115 illegal boats apprehended this year in Australian waters.

DAFF05/162M 16 August 2005


Further inquiries:

Senator Macdonald’s office: David Crisafulli (07) 4771 3066 or 0400 144 483

© Commonwealth of Australia 2002-2005 | Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry | Other DAFF Ministers | Prime Minister

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